Often, lawyers will settle cases before they go to court, but not always for the correct amount. If you feel like your claim has been under-settled, there are things that you can do to challenge the amount of compensation you received.
The main role of a personal injury lawyer is to value and negotiate a settlement. Some cases, however, are prematurely settled. This may be to avoid the expenses of going to court or to avoid a lengthy negotiation process.
When you’re hurt in an accident, you can make a personal injury claim against the person who is at fault. This may have been through someone else’s negligence or rash behaviour. How much to claim depends on a few factors and your legal representative would generally value and negotiate the claim based on:
- The evidence
- Your financial losses as a result of the accident
- The seriousness of the injury
- Loss of amenity
- Any future care
- The psychological aspects of your injury
What are under-settled cases?
The term ‘settling’ refers to the stage in the claim process where the involved parties have come to an agreement on the amount of compensation due. Once it is settled, the compensation is paid to the claimant (person making the claim). However, this compensation may not have been the correct amount due. The claim may have been settled for less than its true value.
If you are in the process of settling – or have settled a personal injury claim and feel like you haven’t been compensated fairly, then the case may have been under-settled. An under-settled case is when your claims handler accepts a lower settlement due to inexperience or wanting to resolve your case quickly.
You may have also been put under pressure to accept the claim. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to take a step back and allow the specialist personal injury solicitors at Foys to handle it. We can explain the ins and outs of under-settled cases, and what you can do to challenge them, if you suspect that your case has been handled in this way.
Reasons why under-settled personal injury claims happen
Under-settled personal injury claims happen due to negligence by your lawyer. Some examples of how a lawyer may be negligent with a personal injury claim are:
- Inexperience – In an effort to cut costs and maintain high profits, many firms have taken to using unqualified juniors or claims handlers to manage cases. These lawyers lack the necessary skill or expertise to handle cases properly, so they may miss crucial evidence, fail to consider all of the possible damages, and even accept the first offer made without trying to negotiate for a higher sum. Often junior case handlers will be pressured to run cases quickly, in an effort to minimise costs.
- Failure to obtain medical evidence – Sometimes, in more extreme cases, claims will be settled prior to obtaining a proper medical report. This is a dangerous cost-cutting method, as it prevents lawyers from evaluating a case reliably. This can result in claims being settled for far lower than they should be.
- Not taking all the necessary information into account – sometimes a lawyer may improperly value your claim. They may fail to take into account care costs, future care and rehabilitation, missed pension contribution and financial losses.
Fighting back against under-settled
As is the case with most things, prevention is better than a cure. There are several warning signs that can indicate when a lawyer is likely to under-settle your case, and by looking out for these signs, you can protect yourself and ensure you get the money you deserve. Here are some things you can do to avoid being under-settled:
- Ask about qualifications – Many inexperienced claims handlers may not have the correct qualifications. Your professional lawyers should tell you who is handling your claim and prove their worth. Often personal injury claims are managed by claims management companies, where the staff may not be fully qualified to litigate. This also means that your case may not receive the level of attention it deserves.
- Be suspicious of the first offer – Lawyers will very rarely accept the first offer, as it can often be a lowball – a deliberately very low offer, often to test the waters. There is no risk to the opposite party from making a lowball offer, so you should be extremely suspicious of any lawyer that suggests you take the first amount offered.
- Don’t be pressured into settling quickly – There’s no denying the process is stressful, but if you settle as quickly as possible then you will likely not get as much compensation. You may also choose to settle when you have made a full physical and psychological recovery from your injury should you begin the process so that you have all the medical evidence possible.
- Ensure a proper medical report has been generated – this will allow a professional lawyer to evaluate your claim properly.
- Make sure your lawyer knows the gravity of your injuries – receiving compensation that matches your injuries is important, so ensure that your lawyer knows the effects your injury is having on your life. If you need future care and rehabilitation, this must be taken into account, as it will affect you and your family’s future financial stability.
Don’t risk it
At Foys, we understand how frustrating an under-settled personal injuries claim can be. Our team of specialist personal injury solicitors have a wealth of experience in winning these types of cases for our clients. Unlike inexperienced claims handlers, we care about your case and will do everything we can to handle it professionally the first time around.
If you found this useful, take a look at:
- What to do when you’ve been injured by an uninsured driver
- A guide to making a traffic accident claim
- Making arrangements after a diagnosis of dementia
Many of those who have been in an accident follow a straightforward procedure of swapping license plate numbers and leaving the rest to the insurance company.
However, there are times when it isn’t that simple. The person may have been severely injured, and when it comes to dealing with it, they find out the bad news – they don’t have insurance.
While it may seem like a dead-end, there are things you can do at this point. In this article, the professional motoring offences team at Foys Solicitors help you to get to grips with seeking compensation after being hit by an uninsured driver.
Take note at the scene
Ideally, it would be good if you or your passenger could note down the involved vehicles make, model and registration number, as well as any witness statements and contact details. Any evidence you can use, to prove that the accident was not your fault is preferable; this can also be in photo form. Take note of the damage inflicted to your vehicle, as you can claim repairs from your own insurer.
If the person driving the other vehicle refuses to give you the details of their insurance, you may make a formal complaint to the police.
Check your contract
Before you begin any kind of process against an uninsured driver, you should always check your contract. Depending on your insurer, you may have one of a few types of protection:
- Protected no claims bonus – when hit by an uninsured driver, you are often forced to claim on your own insurance, which instantly ruins your no claims benefits. Some companies will preserve your bonus if the other driver is uninsured, though they may still raise your premium when the time comes to renew it.
- Waived excess – if you have comprehensive insurance, you will have to claim on your own policy, which is understandably frustrating. Many insurers recognise this and will waive your claim excess, so it doesn’t cost you money to make a claim. This often comes from companies that have an uninsured driver promise.
Bear in mind that even with these types of protection, the companies will still deduct the no claims bonus and ask you to pay the excess while the claim is being decided, returning both if it is ruled in your favour. It may also increase the premium you pay when it comes time to renew your insurance.
Not all companies offer this protection, and many offer variations or combinations of them, so it’s always worth checking beforehand to make sure you take advantage of any protection you may already have.
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) is an independent organisation set up by insurance companies. Their purpose is to compensate people who have been hit by uninsured or untraceable drivers, entering into agreements with the UK government to do so.
They can help in the UK and in Europe, but the conditions under which they can help vary between countries. A full list can be found on their official website. In addition, these claims can take anywhere from 3 months to a year to be completed, depending on the complexity of the case.
The MIB carry out their own investigations into the case, obtaining independent reports from motor engineers or witnesses, collecting police reports and contacting the DVLA and your insurer. If you are claiming for personal injury you may need to provide your medical records.
There are a few instances where the MIB will be unable to help you, including if you were a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver, if the accident didn’t take place in a public area or if you were in a vehicle which you should have known wasn’t insured.
Get help from Foys – personal injury and motoring offence solicitors
At Foys Solicitors, our personal law team has expertise in many fields of law, from motoring accidents to personal injury, and we can help you pursue potential options if you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver.
We will support you through the process, so the stress of the accident doesn’t follow you into your future.
To find out more, get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:
- Doncaster – 01302 327 136
- Retford – 01777 703 100
- Worksop – 01909 500 511
- Clowne – 01246 810 050
- Rotherham – 01709 375 561
- Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
- Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609
Before you go, take a look at some of our other articles:
This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.
Suffering an injury is a distressing experience and can have a devastating impact on your life.
Our expert team of personal injury solicitors can assess your case and help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. We understand the worries you may have after suffering an injury, especially if it is preventing you from going back to work and thus affecting your financial situation. At Foys, we have years of experience in dealing with such cases so you can trust that we will work hard to make a successful claim.
We work on a no win, no fee basis, which means that if your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you won’t be liable to pay any costs.
The areas of personal injury covered include:
- Road traffic accidents
- Accidents at work
- Slips and trips
- Serious injuries and fatal accidents
- Neglect and abuse claims
- Criminal injuries claims
- Injuries caused by faulty goods
For more information regarding how we can help you, check out our recently updated ‘Personal Injury’ page. Here we explain in depth the mentioned areas of law that we cover.
The process to make your personal injury claim can begin with a FREE consultation where we will discuss your case thoroughly in order to understand your situation.
Contact Foys Solicitors for advice on a personal injury claim today
To book an initial free consultation or to find out more about our Personal Injury services, call on 01302 327136 to book your FREE initial consultation. Alternatively, you can send us a message via our Contact Form.